Mad Monster: 'Let Your Freak Flag Fly' At This Horror Movie Convention

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Friday, August 9, 2019 - 9:46am
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2019 - 12:40pm

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If you ever watched the horror flick, "Nightmare on Elm Street," you know that creepy tune that goes something like this: "One, two, Freddy's coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door." And you know what’s coming.

But for Jeff Pearson, that twisted nursery rhyme conjures up memories of something less sinister, of a time when he was home sick watching his favorite movie with a bowl of his mom’s tomato soup.

Jeff is a horror junkie — self-proclaimed — and it’s why he’s here: it's the 2019 Mad Monster Party Film Festival. 

"This is the place where the creepy kids can go," he said. 

It’s a Friday afternoon, and the convention, which was held at We-Ko-Pa Resort in For McDowell, is about to kick off. Dozens of vendors are still setting up, and fans, some in costume, are waiting to go inside.

"It’s literally like a comic-con, except for people who like to be scared, as opposed to lightsabers," he explained.

Jeff has been coming to the Mad Monster Convention for the last five years, so he knows a lot of people, including one of Mad Monster’s founders, Joe Moe.

"But here you are at my show, Mad Monster, and we started this show nearly 10 years," Moe said. "And we’ve all been in the horror genre all of us and the difference between this show and a lot that the promoters and I have been film making."

Jeff Pearson and Joe Moe
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Jeff Pearson (left) has been coming to the Mad Monster Party for the last five years, so he knows a lot of people, including one of Mad Monster’s founders, Joe Moe (center).

So they work with a lot of the celebrities who are here signing autographs, "Like Mirasol Ramierz, she was the crying bride in the 'Curse of La Llorona," Jeff said. It's a very scary, weeping woman who drowns young children.

"And then you get Miko Hughes, he played little Gage Creed in 'Pet Sematary,' 1989 … he’s a DJ, he does some acting as well," he said. "And James Jude Courtney, he is the latest of the Michael Myers" from the "Halloween" films.

"And so, our show is sort of famous for being one where we have very friendly celebrities who want to be with their fans, and if a trap door opened up and they all fell through the floor, we would all still be happy to be together," said Moe. 

A sentiment echoed by almost everyone I talked to, but this convention isn’t just for grown-ups who like to be scared: Mad Monster is actually pretty family-friendly.

Yep, nothing like walking by two young girls dressed like the twins from "The Shining." Don’t worry, they were with their mom and dad (who was carrying an ax).

"And what we’ve created here hopefully is a place where all of us misfits mis-fit together," Moe said. "There’s a lot of people that are very talented but have a lot of social anxiety, shyness, and fantasy and film is one of their escapes."

Or obsessions.

Freddy Krueger glove
Kathy Ritchie/KJZZ
A sharpened Freddy Krueger glove made for 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' star Robert Englund’s convention tours.

Jaime En Fuego is the co-host of a horror variety show on YouTube called "The Horror Show."

"And I would sleep with a nightlight until I was 10 years old," he said. "But still, I was captivated regardless and I kept being drawn back" to movies like "Dead Alive," "The Blob" and, of course, "A Nightmare on Elm Street."

"We have an actual 'Nightmare 4' glove."

That’s Cecil Laird. He’s the creator and co-host of "The Horror Show." The leather glove was made for "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" star Robert Englund’s convention tours.

"So, it’s a legitimate Freddy glove, and it’s sharpened, and it’s the actual design from 'Nightmare 4," he told me. 

"Can I touch it?"

"Yeah! Do you want to put it on?"

Yeah, I do.

"I never thought I would ever do this," I said.

"You never thought you’d have a Freddy glove on?" he asked me.

"I might be geeking out over this!"

I gotta admit, it was really cool putting on Freddy's glove.

"The idea is that you become addicted to it, it’s our art," Jeff said. "It’s our Renoirs, our van Goghs — it’s the stuff we collect, and it’s the stuff we will put our money into, and it’s the stuff we will take second mortgages for."

Jeff hasn’t had to take out a second mortgage yet, though he came close last year when Robert Englund and some of the stars of "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master" were at the convention. Signatures, he says, cost about $100 a pop.

It's not unusual for celebs to charge for their autograph, which on average cost about $40.

This year, Jeff kept things more low key: he purchased two autographed photographs — one from horror legends, Adrienne Barbeau, another from Tom Atkins.

"You can be the biggest geek in the world and you can be a misfit," he declared. "And that’s what this place allows you to do. Let your freak flag fly!"

See, a bunch of freaks who don’t care about your age, your race, what you do for a living — or whether you know anything about horror movies — like this reporter. 

Mad Monster Party
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
More than 5,000 people attended the Mad Monster Party in Fort McDowell, Arizona, in June 2019.

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